In this clip from our Leadership Process Webinar, Brian Gillis explains silent thieves in the form of poor systems and processes. These thieves can cause our automotive repair shops to literally bleed money! Listen up to learn what areas of your shop that these burglars could be lurking in. Then, join us for future sessions to see how we can identify them and kick them out the door, for good!
Where could they be hiding in your automotive repair shops
Silent thieves in your auto repair shop may not be as obvious as a technician stealing tools!
Every shop is unique, but, generally speaking, we all have weak points in certain areas. These poor systems and processes may include:
People and Staffing
Luckily, You Net Results offers weekly rotational webinars you can join, in order to focus on these specific areas. Through group calls, as well as written systems and processes you can customize for your auto repair business, we can work together to stop silent thieves dead in their tracks.
Finally, Brian lists six steps to get started. Put these steps into place in order to build your own Leadership Process. Real change in business can only be made from the top down. Are you both ready and willing to do what it takes to implement change? Put these six steps into practice today, and get on the road to improvement:
Learn More About Eliminating These Silent Thieves – Get Your FREE Strategy Session
You know that you need to kick these silent thieves out of your shop, but you’re not sure where to begin. Why not schedule a FREE business strategy session with Brian, so you can discuss your needs? You’ve got nothing to lose, so sign up today!
In this video, Brian and and our members discuss advanced phone voice skills. These are tips that your service advisors can use TODAY to sell more jobs! This is must watch content for auto repair shop owners, as well as their service writers! Watch the video, then read on for more.
Phone Voice Tips for Automotive Industry Professionals
First, Brian discusses moves on from previously discussing analogies that Service Advisors can use to close more sales. He shares a worksheet with lists of phone voices. These include Payoff Enhancements, which can help close more sales. Second, the worksheet lists Voice Enhancements to avoid. Finally, he points out a list of Payoff Gestures, which can help Service Writers on the phone or in person.
The Payoff Voice Enhancements, depending on the situation, can be invaluable tools. Imagine encountering a customer who is disappointed that their car broke down. They don’t know you personally and have never been in your shop. Because of that, they do not trust you. How would you cheer them up and put their mind at ease? Practicing a phone voice of empathy is key. Knowing the customer’s situation inside and out prepares you to know the right voice enhancement to use. This is especially important when making follow up phone calls where you must break unpleasant news to your customer about their vehicle.
Gathering as much knowledge as you can about a vehicle’s situation is crucial to building your confidence. Repair shop owners and Service Advisors may do this by personally inspecting the vehicle, speaking with your Technicians about the job. Sometimes, it’s a simple as Googling a particular issue or part. When you are fully prepared for your call, customers will recognize your confidence, and they will feel more at ease.
Are you selling all of the jobs you possibly can? Can your customers see the passion you have for servicing their vehicles? A Sense of Urgency (SOU) can really make the difference in creating lifetime customers.
Learning a Sense of Urgency for Customer Service
Whether you’re a Service Advisor working front of house, or a Mechanic working in the back, a sense of urgency is key.
Brian opens up this segment with an analogy about walking into a local restaurant. Their staff instantly bowls you over by bending over backward to serve you. The host or hostess greets you with a smile and quickly directs you to an open table. Your Waiter rushes to your seats to take your order. How do you think that affects your buying mood? Aren’t you more likely to start with an appetizer or order a dessert afterward?
It should come as no surprise to you that many auto repair clients become repeat customers because of how friendly a shop’s staff are. When front counter staff are quick to greet you politely and take a genuine interest in you and your vehicle, you are more likely to want to come back. Brian provided evidence of this by using an example of one of his Service Advisors at the shop he once owned in Georgia. Since this employee demonstrated a sense of urgency, as well as an eager to please attitude, it made a huge impression on his clients. They even remembered him years later!
There’s no reason why this can’t work for your shop! When you encourage the traits of friendliness and speedy service in your Service Writers, Managers, and Technicians, everybody wins.
Learn more about customer service – get your FREE Strategy Session
How much can we influence buying mood when we increase customer comfort? From our members only Clear Counter Communications Series, here’s some great advice for your Service Writers on how to make customers feel at home. If you really want to make auto repair sales, then you need to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and do whatever it takes to make them feel comfortable in your shop.
Customer comfort factors: restaurant analogies
Brian opens up with an analogy about restaurant service. You made plans with a friend to meet for lunch at a local taco restaurant. You show up, walk inside, and you have to wait to be seated. The staff seems to be ignoring you! When the host finally shows up to seat you 2-3 minutes later, they don’t even apologize for making you wait! In this environment, how likely are you to spend extra money on cocktails or dessert after your meal?
In much the same way, you must make the effort to get acquainted with customers when they walk in the door. Engage with them by making small talk, or even complimenting them. Nobody likes having to spend extra money for repairs. Beginning the process with a friendly Service Advisor will make it less painful. You’ll be surprised when you start getting more “YES” answers, just from implementing this simple step.
Could you increase customer comfort in this situation?
Influencing your customers’ buying mood through personal connection
Many customers have made buying decisions before they’ve even walked in the door. Like it or not, factors outside your control may have influenced them negatively toward paying for necessary service. As a front counter worker, you will be the first person clients see when they walk in the door. Can you go above and beyond to break the ice?
Ready to take it to the next level? Get Your FREE Strategy Session!
Here is a clip from our General Manager Process webinar. The whole discussion is available in our You Net Results members library. In this video, Brian Gillis asks a roundtable of automotive repair Owners and GM’s to list ten things that every General Manager must do well. Once our discussion was done, we had compiled a comprehensive list of duties. Read through them and focus on each one today, and then you will up your game!
Tasks 1-3 for Effective General Managers
After Brian set the table for the members, he called on veteran shop owner Jerry Kaminski. Jerry suggested that keeping an eye on your numbers is imperative. Whether you review your financial records daily or monthly, taking a regular look is key.
Next, Andy Arndt stressed how important it is to delegate tasks to your staff. No matter how skilled you are, you can’t do it all! You must trust your staff to take some of the workload off of your plate. Your time is valuable! If a general manager is stuck under a car, he or she can’t handle their administrative duties.
Task Three that a general manager must do well involves both finding and maintaining the right staff. Jim Ryckman invokes the acronym PAHR – Prepare, Attract, Hire, Retain, which is the method we teach for staffing. Without the right crew on hand, none of these other tasks are possible.
GM Duties 4-6
Our friend Dana stresses that good communication skills are essential in any management situation. You must stay cool under pressure, and learn the right things to say to both your staff and concerned customers. Above all else, listen!
Brian then called on Bart Brown, who listed leadership as his task of choice. Repair shop General Managers must continually train, and then put into practice, the methods they learn in order to guide their team. The importance of having the proper leadership vision can not be underestimated.
Edward Couture weighed in with two more tasks that every GM must master. In order to improve workflow, you must learn to manage your time. Edward credits his time management skills with many of his business successes over the years.
Tasks 7-8 that a General Manager Must Do Well
General Managers must get buy-in from their staff
Edward continued, saying that managers must learn to be diplomatic. When you are managing a team of automotive technicians and service advisors, conflicts will inevitably arise. You can not show favoritism between your children. In much the same way, you must learn to step in and resolve disagreements between your staff, whether they are personal or professional ones.
Leon says that every owner, as well as every manager, needs to designate a time one day per week to focus on the business itself. We have always taught this concept as “Working On It Tuesdays”.
It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day tasks going on in an automotive repair shop. If you do not reserve a block of time to work on the nuts and bolts of your business, then it is not going to happen. Go in your office for an hour and shut the door. Don’t forget to also tell your crew that you are not to be bothered for that hour. During that time, study the methods that will increase your effectiveness as both a leader and a general manager. It will save you countless headaches and so much time down the line. Do not do this at home! Operating hours are for business, so you need to take that time to find perspective. Then go home and recharge with your family.
GM Checklist, Tasks 9-10
Next in line, Jerry Kaminski returns to stress the importance of writing and training systems (SOPs). Writing down every task that runs a shop is necessary to get buy-in from your staff. When everyone knows the who, what, when, where, why, and how, they don’t have to hunt you down to ask!
Finally, Andy Arndt mentions that General Managers must motivate their teams. Remind your staff members regularly that you are working toward a common goal. Share your vision when you hold your daily and weekly team meetings. When your technicians and service writers are in tune with that vision, then your shop will run like a well oiled machine!
General Manager Task List Review
To summarize this session, Brian surveyed our group of experienced auto repair shop Owners and General Managers. They determined the following list of ten things every GM must do in order to succeed:
Review your numbers regularly
Delegate tasks to your staff
PAHR – Prepare, Attract, Hire, and Retain the right staff
Master your communication skills
Lead with a defined vision
Manage your time
Be diplomatic with your team
Spend time working on the business one day each and every week (Working On It Tuesdays)
Our chief strategist Brian Gillis recently made a return appearance on the Town Hall Academy podcast. This time on the automotive industry standard show, Brian discusses how to create and execute procedures and systems (SOP’s) for your shop. If you need to get organized and create your shop’s how-to manual, then this episode is for you!
Systems and processes podcast discussion
First of all, Brian gives host Carm Capriotto the low down on how to get started with SOPs. If you start out by organizing the systems you will need to run your business smoothly, that will save you headaches later on. Starting with the basic “SOP on how to create an SOP” will be a valuable to resource for you and your staff when you need to write new systems. Create a template with the key questions (how, what, when, where, why, and how) that the SOP will answer for your business. Store all of your documents in either Dropbox or Google Drive. Then link all of your team members up to them for quick access.
Brian and Carm then go through a sample system, the Incoming Phone Call SOP. This process details who needs to answer the phone, as well as scripts they can use, depending on the customer’s needs.
Why are SOPs so important? Staff turnover is inevitable. Easily accessible documents can help both new recruits and employees changing positions to quickly learn. When your staff members know how to do tasks consistently, they improve their value. Down the line, this will also increase your business’s value to clients and potential investors.
This is how we do it! Get buy-in from your staff on documenting the systems and processes. Well defined and organized SOPs are the first step to create a culture of success and efficiency in your shop.
Interested in learning more?
Organized systems are crucial to a successful automotive business. You Net Results is a coaching group that helps you navigate and apply these processes. Why not schedule a FREE business strategy session with Brian? You’ve got nothing to lose, so sign up today!
Are you an auto repair General Manager who struggles with confidence issues? Then you must watch this clip from our members only General Manager Process! Our host Brian Gillis asks the round table of automotive shop managers what being a confident leader means to each of them.
General Managers sound off on what it takes to make a confident leader
First, Brian calls on veteran shop owner Jerry Kaminski. Jerry jumps right in, asserting that both owners and managers must continually examine and refine their systems. Our friend Leon then adds that regular training sessions with a coaching group are crucial. Jim Ryckman expands on that point that your group must be made up of like minded people who are just as passionate about the automotive industry as you are. If all parties are dedicated to studying and improving, then you will benefit from the time you have invested.
Edward, a successful Midas owner, chimes in to say that a confident leader must trust their own knowledge, as well as their shop’s processes. General Managers must ensure that all of their team members are consistently executing their processes and procedures. Following up is key.
Andy Arndt then reviews our company’s mission statement on helping general managers. Here at You Net Results, we are committed to teaching repair shop owners and managers how to become fearless. Jim Ryckman then continues by reminding the class of our 25+ years of automotive industry experience. We work with individual general managers in order to help them define what success means to them. Then, we step by step help them to reach those goals.
Finally, Brian reviews. He stresses the importance of surrounding yourself with the right staff, as well as encouraging them to learn and implement the right systems.
Recently, our own Brian Gillis appeared on the Remarkable Results Radio podcast Town Hall Academy. This show features a roundtable discussion amongst automotive industry experts on a single topic. Carm Capriotto and Bob Greenwood discussed all of the ins and outs of labor rates with Brian on this special episode.
Labor Rates podcast discussion
Brian elaborates that shop owners want to look at the end goal result first. Shop owners must first know the true cost of doing business in order to arrive at their labor rate formula. In fact, as Bob states, it is important for you to employ not one, but at least three labor rate formulas. Today’s automotive industry is more diverse than ever. Thus, you need employ different rate formulas for maintenance, diagnostic, and reflash.
Bob then presents the cost per billed hour (CPBH) formula. Every dollar must have a name, and every expense needs to be accounted for in order to know rates that are right for your shop. Finally, you should net 20% of gross sales after paying yourself (first!) and your employees a professional wage.
Brian and Cam reiterated that you are in the labor business! Therefore, you must give special attention to your team’s rates. Bob then gave examples of the three door rates he mentioned earlier. He presented formulas for setting those door rates, which are based on competency rate and/or efficiency of business operation.
After discussing these key stats, Brian discusses the concept of labor matrixes, specifically accurately charging for the time that’s spent. Then, the hosts welcome shop owner Bill Nalu to discuss the emotional aspects that go along with the numbers. Courage, as well as knowing your worth as a technician, are essential.
You have heard us speak about silent thieves before. You Net Results’ game plan starts with helping your auto repair shop identify which thief or thieves lurk in your midst. In this clip from our Daily Operations webinar, Brian quizzes members on their own experiences. Is your auto shop losing money, but you don’t know why? Then watch this video and find out!
Auto shop losing money – silent thieves on the prowl
Brian opens up by explaining the concept of a silent thief, which is money leaking out of your shop undetected. He asks members what those thieves look like in their shops, starting with inventory.
Once Andy’s business started growing, he noticed that he started to lose track of inventory. His shop’s process of transporting waste oil for reuse, for instance, needed improvement. Therefore, he bit the bullet and invested in new equipment.
Joe’s parts were not properly being charged out, so he implemented a new process to keep track of this expense.
Then, Jim Ryckman talks about the priorities of owners and managers. Whenever the boss doesn’t manage time well, silent thieves can creep in.
Next up, Leon mentions labor inventory. In his case, this is a huge chance to lose money. Because it can be hard to keep track of, labor rates may be a shop’s #1 money loser.
Finally, Brian discusses one thief we may not have thought of previously. Let’s say our advertising is on point, and customers are jamming your phone lines. If your service writers don’t know what to say to them to close the sale, then you may as well be throwing money out the window. This is why proper phone skills and scripts are crucial.
A few tidbits discussed afterward revealed the importance of taking notes on procedures, as well as being open to change. Surprisingly, many shop owners still use pen and paper instead of computers to keep up with shop supplies and tickets. Doubtless, these shops must update procedures and conquer their fear of change in order to survive.
Stop your silent thieves!
Do these problems sound familiar to you? By now, you might be wondering how you can solve these problems. We have your answer! Try one of our coaching groups for free. Each week, you can join fellow shop owners to identify your problems. Then, apply our systems to start turning record profits!
The auto repair industry employs a variety of different positions. Check out this this clip from our members only People Process workshop. Brian and callers explain automotive jobs. The You Net Results group outline both the jobs’ tasks, and their relationships to each other. Each shop owner shares their knowledge from decades of adapting to an ever changing industry. Think you know everything about each job description in the automotive field? These pros bring up some great points you may have never considered. Don’t miss out!
Explain automotive jobs: Owner and General Manager
First, Brian quizzes members on what it means to be an automotive repair shop owner. Andy recalls his experience working his way up to the position of Owner of his family’s repair business. He describes “replacing himself”, delegating tasks to other staff. Sometimes it does not work out, and he needs to resume said chores temporarily. The bottom line is that owners have to wear many hats within the business, thus they need to stay on their toes to adapt to change.
Our own Jim Ryckman chimes in to describe a General Manager is responsibilities. He or she also must delegate jobs amongst the team. However, the GM is often on the floor, right in the action. Thinking on your feet is key! Managers assist with tickets, tracking parts inventory, and weekly organizational tasks for both front and back of house staff. Sometimes, perhaps most importantly, they are the face of the shop to customers. Your GM may need to engage clients in “show and tell” about the repair process, or grab them a cup of coffee – anything to make your customers feel welcome! This important position is very challenging, but the more dedicated and flexible you are, the more rewarding it can be!
Explain automotive jobs: Your Front Counter Staff, or Service Advisors, are crucial!
Whether you call it Front Counter Staff, Service Advisor, or Service Writer, this job is a crucial spoke in the automotive shop wheel. Cory explains what this job means to him, since he has experience with training front counter workers.
Service Advisors are the conduit between both your customers and your mechanics. They are responsible for explaining the car’s repair needs. They also must estimate how long repairs will take and how much they will cost. “Job stacking” is a critical task for a Service Writer. Managing multiple jobs can be tough, so Front Counter Staff need to have excellent time management and organizational skills. Not to mention, they must work with vendors to ensure all necessary parts are in stock. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented new challenges to these workers, such as online communication with customers, due to social distancing requirements.
Cory believes that no other position is as integral to an auto repair shop’s income than the Service Advisor. You could say that no other auto repair position requires people skills more than a Service Advisor.
What are the responsibilities of General Service Technicians?
When we explain automotive jobs, we must not leave out the General Service Technician – the heartbeat of your shop!
A General Service Technician is sometimes called a Mechanic by a lay person. It is undoubtedly the heartbeat of any auto repair shop. Techs often perform a thankless job. That is despite their required regular ASE certification training. While many facets of the auto repair process don’t change, technology advances dictate continuing education. Who knows, your shop may have to service a self driving car in the near future! Mechanics need to know everything from transmission repair to how to fix the computerized engines of 21st century cars and trucks.
Joe is a veteran shop owner hailing from Alabama. He’s seen it all! First, Joe runs down the ever evolving responsibilities of technicians. He recalls his own experiences as a mechanic, which began over 50 years ago. Before their continued learning, each tech must have a strong foundation of know how. Speed of service is also crucial.
Mechanics are typically the lowest paid team members, but they have plenty of opportunities to advance their careers. General Service Technicians learn many skills on the job. Whether at their existing shop, or in another industry, they are valuable hires. Their communication with others in house, plus their adaptability, are important traits. Those skills can help a General Service Tech eventually move up to an A Tech, Service Writer, or even Owner in time.
Ready to learn more? Grow your shop’s bottom line with our weekly webinars!
Are staff relationships and training confusing you? Do you struggle to put all of the pieces together? Then why not join one of our monthly coaching groups! You will have access to join our live weekly Zoom webinars. They cover topics such as budgeting for profit, hiring, leadership, and much more. Members also have 24/7 access to hours of previous training calls. A library of valuable documents will help to guide you. Sign up today!